Toronto and Barcelona are currently implementing ambitious smart city initiatives. The two cities represent very different interpretations of the smart city vision, and the evolution of these projects will provide important lessons, informing policy makers around the world.
Smart Cities and Connected Intelligence is about digital and cyber-physical platforms that enable people, institutions and machines to connect, collaborate and resolve the complex problems of the 21st century. Internet and world-wide-web platforms, big data analytics, software, social media and civic technologies allow for the creation of smart ecosystems in which connected intelligence emerges and disruptive, social and eco-innovation flourish.
The African Smart Cities Summit is taking place on June 11, in the context of the African Construction Expo. The event is taking place at the Gallagher Convention Centre in Johannesburg, South Africa.
The city of Cologne, on the bank of the river Rhine, has designated a downtown street as a “Climate Street”, and it is expected to act as a living lab which will test climate-friendly technologies and make the flow of traffic more efficient. This initiative is run by the city together with the electricity company RheinEnergie.
A funding of €15 million from the EC’s Horizon 2020 programme along with €17 million from the Estonian Government was obtained for Smart City Research in Helsinki and Tallinn. This will enable R&D teams to test and implement smart city strategies with the eventual goal of creating cross-border smart city initiatives along the EU.
While a lot of buzz in smart cities is about the impressive, cutting-edge technology, the crucial component which makes them smart should be the emphasis on their citizens. The technology should be invisible, seamlessly embedded in the environment to serve real human needs. If the sole focus of a smart city is the technology, then the project is doomed to fail.
Universities around the world, with the US leading the way, are taking notice of smart city developments and applying many of the same solutions. University campuses are ideal for this, as, in effect, they are mini metropolises of their own, with their own shops, roads, transport, residences, banks, and tens of thousands of visitors every day.